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MG MGA - 6' Shelley Supplied with Some MGAs?

During investigations for my Shelley Jack database I have come across information from a USA classic car tools supplier who believes that some early export 1500s to North America were equipped with the Shelley 6" jack.

This is what he said: "While this jack (LJ23) might have been standard issue on the "home market" cars, the Shelley 6" was found in some of the MGAs shipped to North America. I've been selling MG tool kits for almost 20 years....."

Can anyone provide me with additional proof?

The 6" jack was supplied with the MGA's immediate predecessors (MGTC, MGTD and mgtf), so the vendor's claims are not without foundation, especially if MG had a supply left over from the MGTF production.

This is my database, the 6" jack is the first listed:

Steve Gyles

Steve, I have also quietly held this same view. The reason I have quietly held this view is that so many of those who are very familiar with these matters, such as Clausager, Todd Clarke, and Barney Gaylord insist that the only Shelley Jack that is proper for the early MGA's is the square base model. I have never seen the square base Shelley with any MGA.

That being said, I have talked with Jerry at Liverpool Motor Works in the USA (I believe this is who you reference) and he supports this theory.
To that end further possible proof can be found in the owners manuals. To be specific the pictures in the 1500 owners manual show a jack that is not a square base Shelley and not a King Dick. The jack is clearly an hour glass base and most closely resembles the Shelley 6". I believe these line drawings were made by taking a photograph and then drawing over it to produce the art work.

Another question arrises then, "Why the line drawings rather than pictures?". I believe the line drawings were more "durable" than half tones when reproduced by the mass printing techniques used at the time. That is to say, line drawings were clearer and reproduced more consistently than photographs.

Additionally, your observations about the Shelley being carried over from the T series are perfectly logical and are the strongest supporting evidence as to why the Shelley 6" was used on early MGA's. No one knows when the change over to King Dick came, but I suspect it happened in mid 1956, when production really got rolling.

Analogous to this is also the supply of Super Slim forged open end spanners, in the early days as opposed to the King Dick flat plate spanners. Clausager mentions this in his book and has a picture of an early kit with forged spanners. I acquired some of these about two years ago from a person in San Francisco that insisted they came from an early MGA. His credability in this matter is supported by his age, and that he also had many other MGA items many of which were NOS.

I am very interesed in the early MGA's, as my very first car was a '56 with the large number gauges. That car is long gone, and now I am returning to my roots with my present '56 MGA. There are many unique features on the early models, most of which were built in 1955 and early 1956. I find these features most interesting, and am trying to restore my car and stay true to these features. For example, the early windscreen supports (grab handles) were made of brass while later models were made of pot metal (a zinc/aluminum alloy often called ZAMAC). Most folks know that the top posts which engage the hood header rail were brass on the early cars, but I have never found reference to the WS support/grab handles being brass, but my car has brass!

This is great fun!
James Johanski

How can you tell if the grab handle is brass or an alloy? I tried a magnet and it didn't stick but it wouldn't to the other alloys mentioned either. I have a 56 with the large gauge numbers.
N Wessely

You can't tell by using the magnet as you correctly surmise. One clue is that the brass ones won't pit with age as the pot metal ones do. The other way to find out is to scratch the surface. Scratching through the chrome will reveal the brass.
I did not know this until the other day when visiting Tom P. He had sold me a windshield frame with the grab handles. I lifted one and noticed the weight, turned it over and in the holes I could se the brass casting. I got home and looked at my 56, and found it also had brass. I have seen WS grab handles in pot metal and recently inquired about some for sale on E-Bay--the seller was confident that they were post metal and not brass.
I believe that all of the modern replacements are pot metal.
James Johanski

This thread was discussed between 03/12/2009 and 04/12/2009

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